Having a two year old is exhausting and wonderful. It is sad to admit that I have almost no recollection of Beatrice's two. I was four months into grief when we celebrated two with sushi and pizzi. I remember delighting in her, asking her how she lived so easily. I remember cuddling with her for hours, watching movies. I remember painting with her. I remember having long conversations with her, and reading her long, intricate folktales of Inuit peoples and Mexican Indians.
I have no recollection if she was interested in using the potty. I don't remember how many words she had, or if her molars came in (they must have, they are here.) I don't know when she said "I love you" for the first time, or if she sang Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star as much as Thor does. I missed Lucia and appreciated Beezus with every ounce of me, but I couldn't commit either of them to memory. They were like sand. Every moment gone before it came.
Thor is severely speech delayed. I had no idea he was delayed, because I had no idea what to expect. I don't remember how many words Beezus had. I only realized because when I hung out with other two year olds, he didn't speak and they did.
He is slowly learning words, and talking. The speech therapist tells me that he is incredibly smart, above or at all his milestones, perhaps just a little lazy with his mouth movements. He'd rather say every word with a D. It is a very common speech delay for little bros. He gets so excited when his teacher is coming over, and he sits in front of her playing games with her. I hear him say Chicken perfectly. Pig. Cow. Boy. He raises his hand like he is in school, even though she is always calling on him and he is the only one answering. I like his teacher, she is kind and smiles at his little flirts and idiosyncrasies.
I feel like we are just starting summer. Guests and trips, then appointments and dentists and biopsies and food shopping and maybe we will never sit still again, wondering what to do. I think about making a schedule for us, but with what time? Every day is another appointment. Beezus keeps asking me, "Do you have my schedule yet?" She is a child run by routine. I am a mother run by routine, but I still can't construct anything schedule-y.
The yard is dry and our tomatoes seem to have some strange scorched disease. This summer has been brutal, and we spend more time inside than out right now. I hung my spider plant on the deck with my wind chimes that play the first notes of Amazing Grace. When the wind blows, it sometimes sounds like a song I once heard, and other times, divinely, I hear the beginning of Amazing Grace. Just a few notes, but like a prayer I whisper the words.
How sweet the sound,
that saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now, I'm found.
I still feel lost some days. The psychic told me that someone cursed me, and I feel like that was the curse. Wandering the halls of my brain, slamming doors and blowing out candles, haunting myself, pushing my own hand up to drop the groceries I just bought. Someone tells me to lay my necklaces and crystals outside to soak up the sun and the moon energy, and they will shine brighter. Protect me more. I keep buying protection jewelry. Big golden shields to wear over my heart. Angel wings with turquoise. Black tourmaline and labradorite and clear crystals. I feel exposed and vulnerable. Drained by something. I washed my home with protection oils while wearing all white. I walked around chanting with sage and cedar and incense and I don't feel the least bit self-conscious telling you that I am buying stones to grid my home.
I don't even know what I believe anymore. All of those things seem ridiculous to some part of me. I have these dreams that I am battling against horned men. Their horns curl around their ears and my only defense is sending someone else in there against them. I don't even believe in the devil, and yet he appears to me. And I always win, but I don't know what the metaphor is anymore. I sit with it and seek answers from oracles and psychics and astrologers and they always tell me that my heart knows what the answer is.
I have everything I ever dreamed. My daughter died, and I still say that. I appreciate that she was here at all, teaching me about the depths of my darkness and grief. I was a broken person, but I was not smashed. I was able to be found. I am back together. I easily remember all those days
I meditate on the blessings of these days--two year old Thor, five year old Beezus. They play together, and cling to each other, and tell me stories and bark like puppies and ask me questions about the moons and spells and sisters dying and butterflies. I love watching them draw people, and stories. I love learning about which books are their favorite, and not one moment in the day that I don't find something absolutely charming about them. I remember this time, like Beezus will too. That is the grace I walk into every morning. It is easy to imagine I am in control of something like curses and removals and my fate, but I control nothing. I never did. Clinging to that illusion is what is the curse, I think. My heart is telling me that. I must walk through each bloody hot wretched day and grid myself with their love. I am these people's mother. My job is to teach them what it is to be human. That is the sacred place of definitely-not-cursed.